Building the Kamakura Period Umi-Bune – Final

I brought my Kamakura period sea boat to the Nautical Research Guild Conference, which was held this past weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. I had some last minute work to complete, but finished in time for the model display.

Kamakura Period Sea Boat (鎌倉時代の海船) at the 2018 Nautical Research Guild Conference.

Preparing it for the display took a bit of last minute work. I hadn’t put the remaining oars on until I was actually in the hotel the night before. The reason for the delay was mostly due to my taking the model to the October meeting of the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights. Carrying around of model of this nature, or any nature I suppose, has certain hazzards associated with it. I had taken the model to the meeting of the South Bay Model Shipwrights the night before with no problems whatsoever.

However, just before the Hyde Street Pier meeting was about to begin, I discovered that the aft structure had been broken into several pieces. I had placed the model into a box and it survived travel just fine, but I think it’s very possible that someone either leaned or hit the box it was in. It was very disappointing to see the damage and I didn’t review it until after I got it back home. Fortunately, the damage was only with the breaking of glue joints. No wood was actually damaged, and I was able to make repairs over the course of a couple days.

The repaired model was one of three scratch-built wasen models I brought to this year’s NRG conference. The others were the Urayasu Bekabune and the Hozugawa Ayubune.

From the left: Hozugawa Ayubune, copy of Douglas Brooks’s book “Japanese Wooden Boatbuilding”, Urayasu Bekabune, Kamakura period umibune.

With this display, I’ve decided that this project is officially complete. Things like this are often a work in progress, and there are things I’ve been thinking about adding. I may still add those items. But, I think the model stands well as a completed project, so this is my final “official” blog post. There will likely be one or more follow-up posts over time.

Looking at the completed project and how it looked at the conference, I find that it feels a bit small at 2 feet long. Some projects work out well at that size, like the bekabune and the hozugawa bune models, which are each no more than 15 inches long. But, a model of this type, of unusual subject, should probably be at least 3 feet long to draw more attention to it.

I’ll consider building a larger version, but at a larger scale, more details are visible, so I’ll need to figure out how much more detail I can put into such a model. After all, even for this model, the information available on small details is very limited. I only have a couple museum models to use as examples. But, it looks like I’ll need to get a first-hand look at these on my next research trip. Ω



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